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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Story Secrets: AVIELLE OF RHIA by Dia Calhoun!

Winners of previous Story Secrets giveaways...

BLUE FIRE by Janice Hardy: Janine (Squee)
THE OPPOSITE OF INVISIBLE by Liz Gallagher: Cheyenne (PageTurnersBlog)
LOSING FAITH by Denise Jaden: Lost in Believing


I'm very excited to get to chat with rgz co-founder and award-winning fantasy author Dia Calhoun today about her YA fantasy novel, AVIELLE OF RHIA!

Dia has the soul of fantasy as well as amazing storytelling skills (plus she always has gorgeous covers, don't you think?).

Dia is here to tell us about the stories behind her fantasies, writing as a way of working through grief, and her next project.

Welcome, Dia!


Avielle of Rhia is about a princess who overcomes grief and fear after a deadly attack kills her family, and comes into her power as queen by learning to face her fears and love her people.

Dia Calhoun, on the story behind the story:
AVIELLE OF RHIA was directly inspired by the 9/11 and its aftermath. At first the story was too directly tied to 9/11. I had people waving the flags of Rhia and shopping after the attack to stimulate the economy. I had twin towers. All of that had to go, the story took awhile to find its own form and truth.

After 9/11, I was unable to write at ALL. I was frozen with fear. One day, about six weeks afterwards, I was reading a story about a magic cloak. And I thought, "I wish I had a magic cloak to keep myself safe." A light bulb flashed in my mind. I decided to write a novel about a girl who weaves a magic cloak to keep herself safe. I realized that writing was the only was I would find my way through the dark tunnel of fear and grief I was in. And that writing was an act of courage.

Dia, on writing inspiration:
I would say that place is one of my biggest inspirations. Settings give me ideas for stories. I should really travel more, I think!

Dia, on stories taking shape:
The story went through several drafts, but didn't really come into its own until I came up with the idea of the birds. Avielle's great great grandmother, Dolvoka killed all the birds in Rhia through magic. Because Avielle looks like her, everyone thinks she is doomed to follow in her great great grandmother's evil footsteps. Birds became an image of light, spirit, and freedom. Then the book really took flight.

Dia, sharing secrets:
All my novels come from some emotional truth in my life. My secret is to mine all the secrets of my heart and then find ways to take that raw metal and polish it into gold.

What's next?
My next novel is EVA OF THE FARM, a middle grade novel due out from Atheneum in Sprint 2012. Big surprise: It is NOT a fantasy. I t is my first contemporary novel. It is in verse, which I love. Lorie Ann Grover, verse novelist, read a bunch of old poems I wrote about my family's orchard, called the Farm. She encouraged me to write a verse novel about the Farm. My fantasy novels FIREGOLD and WHITE MIDNIGHT were both inspired by the Farm, and I thought I would never have another novel about it. But writing a contemporary verse novel gave me a new angle and voice. Thank you, Lorie Ann!

And thank you, Holly, for the interview!


Thank you, Dia!

Readers, have you been inpsired by tragic events in your life? Have you found strength in hard times? Have you thought about writing fantasy or verse novels? (Personally, I would love to see some fantasies in verse.)


  1. I always wanted a magic cloak that would make me invisible (even before I read Harry Potter, I promise!). :)
    Thanks Dia and Holly!

    Love, Hannah

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Hannah! Nice to see you! I would love an invisibility cloak, too. My editor noticed that I used that idea way too much in my current book, so I had to tone it down. Darn. ;)

  3. Great interview. I'm sorry I didn't get here yesterday. I love Dia Calhoun's books and Avielle of Rhia is one of my favorites. I studied it once when I was struggling with character development.

  4. Ooh, your new book... every time you mention it I'm jumping up and down with excitement!

    Oh and I'm eating one of those cool popsicles with jokes on them, and my joke is just too funny. :) So, Holly, what kind of dance does a mom do?

    The mambo! HA!

  5. Ha ha! In real life, I have discovered there are a LOT of dances a mom has to either *do* or *interpret.* Thanks for making my day!